The World Youth Chess Championship 2007 is taking place in Kemer-Antalya, Turkey,
between November the 17th, 2007 (arrival) and November the 29th, 2007 (departure).
There are separate groups for girls and for boys, under 8, under 10, under 12,
under 14, under 16 and under 18 years old. Over 1500 players from 103 countries,
with more than a thousand accompanying parents, trainers, VIPs, TCF staff, journalists,
etc. are staying in the three official hotels, Limra, Alinda and Sailor's Beach.
The numbers make this event the second largest in the country's history –
certainly the biggest event staged with a single sport. The organisers are handling
the onslaught with equanimity, having prepared for the possible arrival of up
to 4,500 persons.
There are various stars of chess with strong U18 players like GMs Ivan Popov
and David Howell, or IM Manuel Leyon Hoyos. In the girl's section Russian WFM
Valentina Gunina is the top seed, followed by Indian WIMs Manisha Mohanty Kiran
and Mary Ann Gomes. In Boys U16 IM Salgado Lopez and IM Vasif Durarybeyli are
among the players that you can recognize. Kübra Öztürk, the Turkish
star who has held the European U16 title for two years, has to face strong opponents,
inclduing WFM Olgar Girya, WFM Sopiko Guramishvili, WIM Irine Kharisma Sukandar.
In the Boys U12, there is the young star FM Ilya Nyzhnyk who is already famous
in the chess world. In U14 the winner of Femida Cup IM Sanan Sjugirov of Kalmykia
is playing in Kemer.
In the following pictures there are some players names missing, which
we will try to supply in the coming days. With the number of participants
present and the speed at which we are shooting digital images we are going
to probably going to miss out on a few names now and then. Apologies to the
players and their families.
The days of the World Youth Championship begin with work, usually after breakfast,
sometimes before then. The trainers get their kids together and start analysing
and preparing. The trainer of the top Turkish talents is Slovenian GM Adrian
Mikhalchishin, who has a corner in the press center where he can train his charges.
Young talents: Burcu
Şaşmazel (pronounced Bur-joo Shash-mazel), Yesim ("Yeshim")
Patel and Ayca ("Ai-cha") Fatma Durmaz working with grandmaster Adrian
Mikhalchishin. In the above picture they are solving a suit of tactical problems
from a magazine.
It is inspiring to see Yesim, who is just ten years old, working out with
At three in the afternoon the games begin, in a number of different halls
A total of forty games are played on sensor boards and broadcast on the
One of the big stars of this event: eleven-year-old Ilya Nyzhnyk, who won
the B-Group of
the Moscow Open earlier this year. This is a lad we will be watching carefully.
Gizem Yilmaz, one of the few unrated Turkish players
Mert Yilmazyerli, 15, is a talented youngster from Izmir who was part of the
Turkish National Team which won a silver medal in European Under 16 Team Championship
in Subotica. He is wearing his Besiktas sweatsuit – Besiktas is the reigning
champion of Turkiye Is Bankasi Chess Leauge, the only big sporting club in Turkey
having a chess section.
An impish young player from Kenya: ten-ear-old Peniel Weru
A budding beauty of Indian extraction in the Kenyan team: Tina Sathyanarayan,
12 years old
FM Ilya Nyznhyk – the name is pronounced "future world champion"
Onur Can Topal from Ankara, the capital city of Turkey
WFM Sopiko Guramishvili of Georgia, the reigning World Champion Under 16
Girls who was invited to Catalonia for attending an exhchange programme under
the project of "Chess
for peace and understanding"
Cansu Soylemez, another Besiktas player residing in Izmir and a loyal fan
of the Turkish club
Vahap Sanal, who last year narrowly missed winning the World Under 8 Championship,
but later won a bronze medal in the World Schools Chess Championship Under 9
category last October in Batumi. Vahap is from Izmir, the third largest city
in Turkey and the powerhouse of youth chess in the country. He is currently
trained by GM Gamil Agamaliev.
Another striking young player (name to be supplied later)
One of the many young Asian players at this event
Izge Bayyurt is seven years old and normally wears a three-piece suit during
his games. Here he has donned the special sweat shirts designed for the Turkish
squad. Izge is an extraordinary young man, very serious and quite dedicated
to chess, winning a bronze medal in World Schools Chess Championship in Under
7 Category in Thessaloniki last April. He is realistic enough to admit that
it is a very difficult task to become a world champion, and says he is not sure
whether he will succeed in making it. His favourite world champion, he tells
us, is Mikhail Botvinnik, because he was always able to come back to the top.
Izge asked Garry Kasparov about Botvinnik when he visited Istanbul for the promotion
of Turkish volume of "My Great Predecessors."
A young player going for victory
A stylish young lady from China: Lee Ting Jie
Waiting for the opponent after a struggle with a ballpoint pen
The broadcasting team of Turkish Chess Federation making sure the boards are
transmitting the moves correctly. A total of 40 games can be watched live from
anywhere around the globe. From left to right Burcu Menekse, then the two Fatmas
of Turkish Chess Federation: Fatma Öztürk and Fatma Yildiz, and finally
Nur Ertekin on the far right.
On Sunday we celebrated the 53rd birthday of Adrian Mikhalchishin...
... whose students cut the cake for him
Kübra Öztürk and Betül Cemre Yildiz, about whom we will
write more in a later report
The grandmaster who is adored by his pupils...
... and who soon goes back to work preparing for the next day's games
These sessions can go on almost until midnight – chess is not an easy
Report and pictures by Özgür Akman and Frederic